Good Karma for our Farmers needs your help on Sunday. This and more foodie news | Food Bites

GOOD KARMA: Corey Crooks, Mike Galvin of Falcon, Chris Wilson of The Koutetsu, Paul Davies of MoneyPenny and Taps Wilson of The Hop Factory. Picture: Simone De Peak
GOOD KARMA: Corey Crooks, Mike Galvin of Falcon, Chris Wilson of The Koutetsu, Paul Davies of MoneyPenny and Taps Wilson of The Hop Factory. Picture: Simone De Peak

Ten Newcastle venues have joined forces in an attempt to do something – anything – to help farmers in drought-stricken areas who are doing it tough.

Good Karma for our Farmers is a fund-raising initiative supported by The Grain Store, The Happy Wombat, The Falcon, The Hop Factory, Foghorn Brewhouse, Bar Petite, The Koutetsu, Coal & Cedar, MoneyPenny and Reserve. This Sunday, August 26, show your support and visit one or more of these venues and take advantage of special meal or drinks deals, raffles and the like. All profits will go to Rural Aid. 

Those venues who don’t open on Sundays will be promoting their own Good Karma for our Farmers appeals on Saturday night instead.

“It’s easy for us to sit here on the coast but if you go out to places like Dubbo or Tamworth, mate, it looks like the moon it’s so barren. We can’t make it rain for our farmers but we wanted to help,” The Grain Store’s Corey Crooks said.

“Unless you live in those areas you don’t realise how bad it is. NSW and Victoria are out of hay, and South Australia has enough for about 18 months, I heard.

“One of the reasons the farmers’ margins are so low is because they have been screwed over by big supermarkets over the years and now they don’t have that buffer to get through these periods of drought,” Crooks continued. 

GOOD KARMA: Corey Crooks, Mike Galvin of Falcon, Chris Wilson of The Koutetsu, Paul Davies of MoneyPenny and Taps Wilson of The Hop Factory. Picture: Simone De Peak

GOOD KARMA: Corey Crooks, Mike Galvin of Falcon, Chris Wilson of The Koutetsu, Paul Davies of MoneyPenny and Taps Wilson of The Hop Factory. Picture: Simone De Peak

“There are so many big players who could help them out. What about the $70 million in savings because of the plastic bag ban? Or the big banks putting these guys’ mortgages on hold or something? 

“We wanted to raise awareness as well as money, like the conversation we are now having. It’s so easy for us to take for granted how the food gets into our pantry or onto our plate when we eat at a restaurant.

“Without farmers we’re in trouble.”

Many suppliers are also helping by donating, for example, a keg or produce. De Iuliis Wines is donating wine for The Grain Store’s event. Keep an eye out for donation tins and raffles, too.

All profits from the 10 participating venues will be pooled into the group’s Buy a Bale account (

“I chose Rural Aid because it’s transparent. Unlike most charities, they disclose what is spent on administration, so you know exactly where your money is going,” Crooks said. 

Sweet statistics

Fawk Foods Kitchen & Bakery opened at Pokolbin just six weeks ago but already boasts some impressive statistics. More than 7000 customers have been served, and 2352 takeaway orders placed.

Fawk Foods Kitchen & Bakery. Picture: Dominique Cherry

Fawk Foods Kitchen & Bakery. Picture: Dominique Cherry

Here’s some more numbers: 821 bacon and egg rolls have been sold; 1317 hash browns; 6035 coffees; 474 cups of tea; 611 chai and hot chocolates; and 584 sourdough loaves. And the highest-selling bakery item so far is the cannelé (more than 450 have been ordered). Not bad for a new business. 

Fawk Foods Kitchen & Bakery. Picture: Dominique Cherry

Fawk Foods Kitchen & Bakery. Picture: Dominique Cherry

Coffee and kids

Field, by Glee Coffee Roasters, has opened at the site of the former Locomotive, at 160 Maitland Road, Mayfield. They’re serving breakfast and lunch and, of course, a damn fine coffee. Children are welcome and catered for.

Home delivery

Susuru Ramen & Gyoza is now delivering to the following postcodes – 2291, 2293, 2294, 2296, 2300, 2302 and 2303 –  at a cost of $6.50 per order. Orders can be placed by calling 4049 8448 between 11.30am and 3pm, and 5.30pm and 9pm. The menu can be found online at 

Great outdoors

Something a little different is on offer this Sunday, August 26, for children aged four to eight. Nature Play Adventure Winter Fire, 10am to noon, with Niki Buchan takes place at Belmont Wetlands. Participants will be engaging with flints and making fire, cooking marshmallows and apple slices, and melting chocolate.

The cost for the event is $15 plus booking fee per child with accompanying adult (free) through Eventbrite.

Do it for Dad

The Anchorage at Corlette is upping the Father’s Day antics on September 2 with everything from a “Guy Tea” to “Mankind” massages and facials, lunch, whisky tastings and gift vouchers. Bookings are essential.

A buffet breakfast is a good start to his day, available 7am to 10.30am at a cost of $37 per person. Then there’s a one-hour whisky tasting at the Hemingways bar: six of the world’s finest and six matching morsels. Cost $60 per person.

A long lunch is also on offer for $49 per person including a glass of Brokenwood white, red or sparkling, or a beer for dad. You can choose from a special Father’s Day two-course lunch menu or the full menu with children’s options.

The new Guy Tea from 2.30pm to 4.30pm will offer sliders and sausage rolls, cider crumble and caramel banana donuts rather than cucumber sandwiches and cupcakes, and there’s no tea involved. Cost is $49 per person.

There is also a 75-minute Mankind Facial and Back Massage at Spa Lucca, as well as a Sodashi signature Mankind facial. The Ultimate Dad’s Day Out Package combines all of the above.

Dude Food

The Lovedale Bar at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley is also treating dads with a $35 Dude Food platter on September 2, 11am until close. It serves two and includes Lovedale cheeseburger sliders with Sydney Brewery East Coast IPA chutney; lamb cutlets with chimichurri; crispy fried chicken with Sydney Brewery cider sweet chilli; salt and pepper squid with sour cream; and a growler of Lovedale Lager.

Win a book for dad

Keg Bottle Can, by Luke Robertson, celebrates the best of Australian craft beer: from easy-to-drink crisp lagers and pale ales to stouts, porters and sours. 

It features 150 Australian brews, organised by beer-drinking occasion, and includes key information as well as the back story about the brewer and the beer itself, along with food pairings and additional top picks from the brewery. 

The book opens with a history of craft beer in Australia and describes the brewing process in detail. 

Keg Bottle Can is out now through Hardie Grant Brooks, RRP $29.99. Food & Wine has a copy to give away. To enter, send the words “Keg Bottle Can” with your name, address and number to Entries close on Monday (August 27, 2018) at 9am.

Love Sea Food success

Seafood lovers flocked to Port Stephens for the Love Sea Food Weekend on August 18 and 19. The weekend is a highlight of the annual, month-long Love Sea Food celebrations that showcase the premium fresh seafood Port Stephens is renowned for.

“Once a year the local fishing, aquaculture and seafood industries come together to showcase the abundance of high quality, fresh seafood that our beautiful region has to offer,” Eileen Gilliland,CEO of Destination Port Stephens, said.

“Coastal townships like Port Stephens were born on the back of thriving fishing industries that stretch back to the 1800s in Australia.”

Local oyster farmers gave away 1800 oysters for tastings at the festival and sold more than 300 dozen from market stalls on D’albora Marinas. The championship trophy and title for oyster shucking was fiercely contended by local oyster growing families and won by Steve Cole of Cole Brothers Oysters at Karuah.

Steve set a new record by opening, turning and presenting two dozen oysters in two minutes and 36.5 seconds, to beat his own brother, Dean Cole (who won last year’s championship) by one minute and 15 seconds.

Port Stephens “celebrities” competed in the amateur oyster-shucking competition. Winner Rob Gauta, from Newcastle Commercial Fisherman’s Co-operative, opened 12 oysters in one minute and 15 seconds, to beat competitors Port Stephens mayor Ryan Palmer, Cr Glen Dunkley, Michael Mace of Salamander Bay Rotary Club and Geoff Allen from the Department of Primary Industries.

“Destination Port Stephens have worked closely with the many local industry and oyster growing families who are the backbone of the local seafood industry, to grow Love Sea Food into a unique destination experience with broad appeal,” Gilliland said.

“The participation of so many amazing local eateries and chefs has contributed to the high profile exposure generated for Love Sea Food and Port Stephens all over NSW and Australia.”

This year’s Love Sea Food festival kicked off with a sell-out seafood Gala Dinner at Broughtons at the Bay, hosted by Lyndey Milan. Five of Port Stephens’ best seafood chefs created a decadent five-course feast featuring fresh local snapper, oysters, blue swimmer crab, tuna and sea urchin.

The chefs were Ben Way from Little Beach Boathouse, Mat Key from The Little Nel, Ludovic Poyer from The Poyers, Michael Jenkins from The Anchorage, and head chef of the new Rick Stein Bannisters Port Stephens, Mitchell Turner.

Throughout August restaurants and cafes all over the region have been buzzing, as locals and visitors to Port Stephens indulge in the many great value Love Sea Food Festival menus on offer. A series of Signature Series lunches and dinners again proved to be popular.

A four-course seafood degustation lunch for 85 at popular local eatery, The Little Nel, booked out within days and attracted many Sydney-based seafood lovers. The menu was packed with fresh local seafood, from Port Stephens oysters, lobster and leather jacket to Stockton Bight prawns.

Horizons Golf Resorts’ fresh twist on destination dining, with a Nine and Dine dinner for 80 was also a hit, encouraging festival-goers to stay and play.

A fitting finale for this year’s event will be the Seafood and Semillon Signature Series Dinner at The Anchorage on Friday, August 31.

“It was great to see such a good turn out for our cooking demonstrations and interact with the local growers. We had visitors from outside of the region coming in to the restaurant this weekend which is encouraging, during what has historically been a slow period for Port Stephens,” Ben Way of Little Beach Boathouse said.

Local children participated in a Love Sea Food drawing competition with the following winners awarded for each year category:

  • Kindergarten: First place Zamia Fox from Bobs Farm Primary School and second place Nash Plant from Bobs Farm Primary School
  • Years 1 and 2: First place Charlotte Cowrie from St Michaels and second place Bella Palmer from St Michaels
  • Years 3 and 4: First place Tegan Barnes from Bobs Farm Primary School and second place Jade Stanley from St Michaels
  • Years 5 and 6: First place Karli Bower from St Philips Christian College and second place Rae McCall from St Philips Christian College.

Congratulations, kids.